Hive Sushi Lounge does indeed seem to be inspired by the artistry of bees. Though the sushi rolls aren't hexagonal, the chefs put as much thought into them as the insects would put into their royal honeycomb, crafting elegant plates of nigiri, sashimi, and more than 25 specialty rolls. Some of these dishes carry the hive theme even further—the nectar-style sashimi, for example, flavors salmon with orange-infused olive oil, and the queen bee roll wraps spicy yellowtail with yellow soy paper topped with red snapper.
Diners needn't leave all the construction work to the staff, however. Hive offers sushi-making classes six nights a week, teaching students how to make hand-rolls and nigiri at individual stations. If you'd rather sit and eat traditionally, sip a Japanese beer in the dining room, or head to the private Nectar Room. The event space provides parties with a sushi chef, a patio, and a PA system for announcing when someone doesn't know what tobiko is.
Subtly set into the street-level space of a Bankers Hill office building, Hane Sushi’s tall, smoked-glass windows shadow the spectacle within. Since opening in 2009, the elegant establishment is known for having the freshest fish and masterful sushi chefs. Many compare the sushi quality to that found in Japan, but Hane holds its own within San Diego. Whether studying the precise and delicate cuts from the safety of the understated bar, or enjoying a more relaxed experience with friends at one of the booths or tables, diners can select from the choicest cuts of sashimi, luxurious sushi rolls, a variety of miso soups and several appetizers. Sake tops the libations menu, along with Asian beer brands, and cocktails are served nightly from the full bar. Reservations are highly suggested for the small space. And while the neighborhood is pinched for parking during weekdays, it’s much easier to find after 6pm.
While Sushi is a popular dinner option throughout San Diego, it’s rare to find a discreet and sophisticated neighborhood eatery that appeals to all the senses. The demure Azuki is such a treat; a place where expert chefs work seasonal ingredients into daily specials, and guests are invited to slip in after dark to fully appreciate the attention to every luminous detail. Behind the sushi bar is a wall of red, sure to fire appetites; just opposite, Japanese films project across a pale ivory wall above a scattering of small, comfortable tables. Step towards the kitchen, up a narrow hall past the restrooms to the back patio, which is bordered with horizontal, dark wooden beams, enough tall heaters to warm the draftiest night and a tall, luminous ceiling which helps tone conversations to a graceful murmur. Such a sumptuous environment is sure to enhance any romantic dinner.
More than 15 HD televisions illuminate the bustling interior of State St. Grill, located steps from San Diego State University. Though its burgers, such as the bacon-topped Hall of Flame and the pineapple teriyaki, satisfy traditional sports-bar cravings, its impressive lineup of sushi and sashimi dominates the menu. Many rolls are served in unconventional ways, such as the sushi burrito, one uncut roll of shrimp tempura and spicy crab wrapped in soy paper, or the lollipop roll whose pieces are served on sticks. SDSU games make regular appearances, allowing guests to cheer on the Aztecs as they sip on hot sake, cold beer, or room-temperature air.
The experienced chefs at Wonderful Sushi handcraft a large variety of sashimi combinations, nigiri, and maki rolls, as well as a smattering of hot entrees doused in teriyaki or sesame sauce. The white tuna roll is a customer favorite, filled with spicy tuna, snow crab, and avocado and then topped with tender white tuna and special sauce. There are even some hot sushi rolls available, including the deep-fried tempura california roll. Diners can cheer on the chefs with foam fingers while sitting at the sushi bar, or they can grab a glass of wine, Japanese beer, or sake for a relaxing hour on the outdoor patio.
The fare is always fresh at T-Deli, where chefs source their ingredients from local markets each day. Using family recipes, they pull these ingredients together to craft custom-made roast beef sandwiches, avocado BLTs, and a selection of tortas, including chipotle chicken with jack cheese. Other light options include salads, wraps, and quesadillas, all of which pair with hot and cold teas, smoothies, and even sangria.